Monday, February 25, 2008

Maintenance Must-dos

The following article has been gleaned from "Maintenance Must-dos" by John N. Frank

Having a maintenance list for the inside and outside makes keeping up a lot easier. This list will help buyers especially first-time buyers.

Inside tasks:
Change your furnace filters monthly.
Drain water heater at least once a year.
Clean coils of base board heating units.
Check your circuit breakers.
Watch out for drips under sinks or tubs.
Replace Regularly: water heaters, furnaces, roofs, and other key components of your home.

Outside tasks:
Keept the wet out. Check each season for signs of water damage to your home.
Get to the bottom of things. Check your home's foundation for cracs or gaps that could let water or varmints in.
Look up. Visually inspect chimneys each year for signs of loose mortar or loose or missing bricks.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A good time to buy Real Estate

“It’s a good time to buy real estate.” That’s the message Realogy, the nation’s largest real estate franchisor, wants agents to broadcast to buyers across the country.
The company is spreading the word through a national advertising campaign in USA Today, which began this past Wednesday and will run again on Feb. 13th and 20th. This is Realogy’s second national push in as many years to take a strong stance against the barrage of negative press directed toward the real estate industry over what is reported as the declining condition of the housing market. The ad lets consumers know that recently-cut mortgage rates and a wealth of available properties make today a “great time” to purchase a home.
The timing of the ad, titled, “Think You Can’t Get a Home Loan? Well Think Again. You May Be Pleasantly Surprised.,” aligns with the recent Federal Reserve interest rate cuts, and lets consumers know that: money is available for those who meet basic requirements; affordability has improved; rates are attractive; and inventory is plentiful.
In an exclusive interview with Alex Perriello, president & CEO of the Realogy Franchise Group, he said the ads aim to educate consumers who might be at the positive tipping point on buying a home.
“We want to educate the consumer with relevant facts about today’s real estate market,” he said. “There are a lot of positives, and we feel that reinforcing the positives will help clarify things for consumers who are on the fence what to do in today’s market. I travel a lot to real estate offices and I hear from a lot of our agents that buyers are out there, but that they are not sure what to do. We felt that talking openly about the opportunities may help people to see that it is a good time to get into the market, and we believe it is.”
Perriello said there are three common misconceptions consumers have about the real estate market right now :people can’t get a loan: affordability is out of reach: and consumers should wait for rates to go lower.
“We want to set the record straight on that. If you meet very basic requirements - you have a job for the past two years, you can make the payments, you plan to live in the property and you have a credit score that suggests you are responsible, you can get a mortgage. These are all reasonable requirements.” He added that affordability today is better than it has been in almost three years, and that interest rates are now at 40-year historic lows, so people shouldn’t wait to buy.
In the national scope of the economy, Perriello said that the Federal Reserve is doing a good job of doing what it can to avert a recession, but stopped short on any market predictions for the remainder of 2008.

The information above was gleaned from the article "Get the word out: It's a Good Time to Buy" by Beth McGuire from RIS Media.

Hope Now Alliance

You've probably heard critics on Capitol Hill complain that too many financially-stressed home owners aren't getting help from lenders to modify their loans, lower their rates or freeze them and keep them out of fore closure.
But late last week the "Hope Now Alliance" (a Washington based group convened by the treasury department and composed of the country's largest mortage servicers) fired back at the critics and said thy just down't have the facts.
Since its founding last summer the Alliance said its members helped 869,000 home owners stay out of foreclosure during the final six months of 2007, either through modifications of loan terms or through repayment plans that reschedule borrowers' debts.
Hope Now's members service 33.3 million home loans equalling about 2/3 of all mortgages outstanding in the US. Roughly 21% of borrowers whose mortgages were originated at prime rates were given some form of loan modification to help them keep their homes. Among subprime borrowers the modification rate was higher at nearly 28%.
Talk to the serivicer if you're having trouble making payments. Answer the phone call, letter or email from the servicer's staff seeking to discuss your situation.
Remember: Lenders are motivated like they haven't been for decades to work things out with you, including adjusting your payments or freezing the rate as long as you're open to trying to solve the problem.

The information above is gleaned from "Washington Report: Hope Now Alliance" by Kenneth R. Harney of Realty Times

Monday, February 4, 2008

The "REAL" News

As President of the National Association of Realtors, Richard F. Gaylord, gave his following advice regarding the real estate market in his article "We're in this 'All Together". (The following is article is gleaned from information given in that article)

Its important to first realize that this business is cyclical, but for those who have forgotten or dont realize that fact here is his advice:
Real estate is a long-term investment. The recent boom created the misconception that real estate is a high yield, short term investment when in reality it is not.
There's no such thing as a bad market. Regardless of what the market is reflecting, there are always pleny of peole ready to buy and sell. With favorable interest rates and more options buyers can get a good deal.
Economic indicators remain good. Low interest rates, employment gains, infation is under control, and gross domestic product growing are all indicators for healthy sales this year.
Bad new should be put in perspective. The news tends to focus on foreclosure spikes and not analyzed in context. The problem is predominantly with sub-prime loans, which are held by less than 10% of people. Most of these loans will never go into foreclosure.
Real estate is a local business. Each area is affected differentlygor a free price analysis visit The reports will help you understand whats really going on in your marketplace.